Impact Social

February 2024

New Report: Anti-Transgender Political Rhetoric Does Not Motivate Voters

(KENTUCKY) – As lawmakers propose another slate of bills targeting transgender Kentuckians’ rights in the 2024 General Assembly, a new report provides context on how conversations about transgender issues have failed to impact voter sentiment in Kentucky.

The report from Impact Social, a specialist social media, online monitoring and analysis company, reviews the online discussion around gender narratives and related issues throughout the commonwealth in the lead-up to the 2023 gubernatorial election. Throughout the race, challenger Daniel Cameron leaned into anti-trans rhetoric, launching a series of commercials and social media attacks against incumbent Governor Andy Beshear’s support for transgender rights and veto of anti-trans Senate Bill 150. Conversely, Governor Beshear consistently touted his support of transgender youth and their parents’ rights. Governor Beshear released a commercial defending his veto of Senate Bill 150, citing his Christian faith in his support of transgender youth. Governor Beshear easily won re-election by a margin ten times greater than his narrow victory in 2019.

The groundbreaking report finds:

  • While transgender-related issues were widely spoken of across the state during the election season, voters on both sides did not see it as a major electoral issue and the topic failed to influence voter behavior.
    • Conversations only referenced specific candidates in the last month before the election, with fewer than 5% of conversations voicing support for candidate Daniel Cameron despite Cameron making anti-transgender policy a central part of his campaign.
  • In the three months leading up to the November election, only 17% of online conversations about gender identity and transgender issues related to politics at all, despite both gubernatorial candidates frequently speaking about transgender issues,

“Our analysis considered the content, tone and influence of a wide range of social media posts and one thing was clear across the board: candidates’ views on gender did not drive voters’ behavior,” said Phil Snape, Impact Social Co-Founder. “In fact, few people spoke about transgender issues and gender in the context of politics at all. Daniel Cameron’s attempt to unseat Governor Beshear by targeting his support for transgender Kentuckians simply didn’t resonate with voters. Rather than caring what candidates said about transgender issues, voters cared if candidates were trustworthy or compassionate.”

See Impact Social’s full findings HERE.

“This new analysis affirms what Kentucky families and advocates have long been saying: attacks on transgender people are a failing political ploy,” said Chris Hartman, Executive Director of Fairness Campaign, Kentucky’s LGBTQ+ advocacy organization. “At the end of the day, Kentuckians rejected the politics of hate and division. Voters care about elected leaders delivering solutions for our economy, schools and health care system. Attacking a small population of transgender kids is unpopular and downright dangerous. I urge all elected leaders to heed these findings, leave transgender kids and LGBTQ+ people alone and get back to the real issues impacting our state.”